Filmmaker documents mother's odyssey

A DOCUMENTARY that brought the audience to its feet at its premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival last month has been rushed to Launceston to feature at the Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Festival, which opens today.

Sophia Turkiewicz's Once My Mother   won the audience choice as most popular documentary.

The filmmaker traces her own life in parallel with her mother's in an effort to make peace with their troubled relationship.

She leads her mother in conversation through a rediscovery of the epic journey of her life, from Poland to a wartime Siberian gulag, and through Uzbekistan, Persia and a refugee camp in Africa before she settled in Adelaide. 

Turkiewicz first recorded snippets of her mother's history as a project when she was a student at film school. Those recorded rushes were rescued from the back of a cupboard in the early 1990s. By this time, Turkiewicz's mother, Helen, was suffering dementia.

While it would be wrong to construe that Once My Mother  has taken Turkiewicz 37 years to make her documentary, giving the concept a long gestation has brought ``a better understanding, comprehension and great love'' of her mother's incredible journey.

``My film looks at various stages of her life, particularly the parent/child relationship and the reversal of roles when I became her carer,'' explains Turkiewicz. ``It's a real Australian story because we are all migrants.

``Ultimately, my film taught me forgiveness because here was an ordinary woman who had survived through incredible resilience.''

Once My Mother  will screen at the QVMAG theatre, Inveresk, tomorrow at 1pm. Turkiewicz and the film's producer, Rod Freedman, will attend the screening.

ntsand take part in a panel discussion with the audience afterwards.

ifOnce My Mother  is part of BOFA's Tasmania Action Day program, which includes five films and panel discussions devised to focus on issues from ``the political, economic, environmental and social issues that affect us today''.

FACT FILE

WHAT: 2013 Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival.

WHERE: Inveresk precinct and CBD venues.

WHEN: Today until Sunday, November 10.

TICKETS: Neil Pitts, Brisbane Street, or visit www.bofa.com.au

Filmmaker Sophia Turkiewicz and her  mother Helen. Turkiewicz made a documentary, Once My Mother, that was widely acclaimed at the Adelaide Film Festival last month.

Filmmaker Sophia Turkiewicz and her mother Helen. Turkiewicz made a documentary, Once My Mother, that was widely acclaimed at the Adelaide Film Festival last month.

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